Always Walk the Course.

"Bryan, what're you driving in the autocross?" I was asked by a few friends this year at the convention. "Oh, I'm not driving this year, the '66 Corsa has stock seats and slow steering, and I haven't done anything to the Greenbrier since I ran it last, and the '65 Corsa still needs its new suspension. Ellie's going to drive the Greenbrier, I'll just work the event and take pictures of Ellie running."

So bright and early Friday morning I made the short drive over to the autocross site to start working Tech. In the past few years several of the same folks have done Tech at the Convention, so things went really smoothly. After the driver's meeting I finished getting the van ready while Ellie walked the course. "You're not walking the course?" I was asked. "Nope, just watching this year" as I checked the oil and inflated the tires. It was really nice just doing a little spectating as the Street Stock classes got underway, watching a well sorted stock Corvair - the class allows for only replacement parts and a few minor updates - take to the course shows how good the original design really is. At this point there was this little itch starting to develop, but I was just here to spectate today, right?

To get the best vantage point at an outocross, the best thing to do is to have relatively free run of the course, so for the middle run group - when the Competition, Street Modified, and Specialty cars would be competing - I volunteered to assist Bob Marlow as he announced the event. The group did not disappoint either, with Warren Leveque's new "Mini-Spyder" showing early he was serious about setting FTD, and a big shootout in the Competition class between several of CORSA's best known autocross drivers - Paul Fox, Michael and Vanessa Leveque, Dave Clemens, and Seth Emerson, along with Dan Gianotti, Bob Peplow, Tim Cotrofeld, Mark Wright (sharing Paul Fox's car), local drivers John and Todd Egerton, Llewellyn Halstead, Ken Hand, and Tim Cotrofeld in a lovely white and blue Stinger. The battle seesawed back and forth, and when Mark Wright came to the line for his last run - and the last run of the group - some smoke was seen coming from the Yenko flaps of the Fox car. It had tossed a belt, but what he and most of us didn't realize is that he had won the class with his first run!

The Improved Stock classes were next, so I got out the camera and got some photos of our Greenbrier staging next to Richard Jenkins' IS 'Brier, and then out on the course. Ellie turned some respectable times, and it was interesting watching how the van handled around the cones. As the IS run group wound down, I noticed that it was still early in the afternoon.

Since I had not registered for the event, I couldn't have run for a trophy even if I did change my mind, but there was some discussion going on about fun runs. Fun runs? That itch turned into a full case of the hives. Quickly I borrowed a helmet (thanks Michael!) and found one of my kids. "Put this on." Although our boys have been to several conventions, I'd never been able to take any of them on a run before. Trevor and I buckled up and were first in line, dollar in hand. Now the course had a front half, then snaked behind some trailers for the back half. As I got to the back half of the course, I suddenly realized I had no real idea of where I was going! Worse, I had the whole family and lots of friends watching, and one in the van! Well, I managed to stay on course, but it was, ah, somewhat less than smooth. Time wasn't bad, tho, so maybe I could at least get bragging rights over Richard, who I have never beaten. Quickly back to the pits, where Stefan was waiting, and back in line. As before, good on the front part, sloppy in the back. Time was faster, but I was still a second back and hit a couple cones. Well, I had one more kid, but unfortunately Brenden is only 3, so I had to slow down a bit but turned a nice smooth run. Finally I knew the course, but as I came back in we were out of time. Well, any day you learn something is a good day - next time I'm at an event and someone asks if I'm running, the answer may be no, "but I'm going to walk the course!"